There have been some massive changes inside Telecom recently, with chief executive Simon Moutter announcing a restructure that plans to axe between 930 to 1280 jobs by the middle of this year a few months back. And as a direct result of the decision to reduce the headcount, it has outsourced a few previously internal functions and appointed Clemenger Group-owned Touch/Cast.
Chief marketing officer Jason Paris says Telecom used to have quite a big digital and studio team, but Touch/Cast will now take care of the digital user experience, design and production of the Telecom website, and also do studio work.
Head of marketing Kellie Nathan oversaw these changes. And rather than a formal pitch in the market she says it invited current partners in the digital/studio space to present a response to the brief.
"We were delighted to find a partner that could offer an integrated digital and studio production hub," she says. "The mix of jobs going through our studio will increasingly be digital in nature, so having one integrated production hub makes perfect sense."
She says Telecom has worked with Touch/Cast for a number of years and she is very confident it has the ability to manage this part of the business.
Clemenger Group chief executive Jim Moser said in a release that Touch/Cast is the fastest growing company in the Clemenger Group in New Zealand and "the incremental Telecom assignment" has meant it will open a full-service office in Auckland to add to its Wellington operation.
"While the Telecom business will be run and managed by Touch/Cast, we have been able to tap into the broader Clemenger Group resources to ensure best in class studio production facilities," he says. "We feel fortunate to work with such a dynamic company as Telecom and look forward to a continued successful relationship well into the future."
Touch/Cast's creative director Andrew Hawley is heading the project. And it's thought .99 is also involved.
UPDATE: Moser confirmed .99's involvement and says while Touch/Cast has obvious digital chops, it lacked experience on the print side of things, so it will be using a lot of .99's IP and software but it will all come under the Touch/Cast brand.
While he would love to house the new office in the Richmond Rd building, there's not enough room, so Touch/Cast will move into justONE's old office space.
Moser says Hawley will be spending a lot of time in Auckland, but won't be moving from Wellington. He says someone will be hired to run the Auckland branch and it will be looking to add to the Telecom business and pick up more clients in this region .
Paris confirmed it is also working with Contagion, which is acting as Telecom's digital experience and social media agency. They have been working together for six to nine months.
We have also heard Consortium is working on Telecom's B2B work. Ralph Brayham, a former director of home at Telecom and director of Yahoo!Xtra, took a 50 percent share in Consortium last year.
Add in Dynamo, the 'data-driven analytics hub' housed inside DDB that won Telecom's media account from Starcom a few months ago (Paris says it is working brilliantly), lead agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which continues to take care of the big brand work, and the other specialist agencies it works with (it's thought it numbers about 20), and Telecom is certainly sharing the love these days.